Cruise control positioning in the Model S

The other cars that I drive are BMWs and Toyotas, and have driven a Honda for 7 or so years in the past.

I'll probably get used to this in due course, but these are my thoughts after the first 1000 miles.

I find the position of the cruise control on the Model S a bit dangerous and am a bit concerned that I could get into a dangerous situation because of it.

In general, my experience with the other cars that I have driven is that the turn indicator is the most prominent lever and is the easiest to access. However, in the Model S, the cruise control seems to be very prominent on the left hand control area.

Often I find myself twiddling the cruise accidentally rather than the turn indicator.

Also given the fact that cruise stays on forever (i.e. even after parking and getting into the car later), I'm just concerned that I might activate it by accident and set the car to a high speed in a low speed road in traffic.

Anybody find the position of the cruise control awkward?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Sure do.

It is the same as Mercedes cars - do all Merc drivers have the same problem?

Agreed: for me, it seems to be in a weird location, too. I'm getting used to it, but I assume Mercedes owners have always been used to it (everyone says it's a Mercedes steering column, so I guess that's where it normally is on a Mercedes).

I really liked the location on the Honda steering wheel, easily reached with your right-hand thumb. I tend to increase/decrease my speed on the freeway using the cruise adjustment, rather than with my foot on the accelerator. Adaptive cruise control would solve that, though.

Perfect location for me.

I've had two Mercedes for many years. My wife says that I drive "the horses" (SL500) and she drives "the chuck wagon" (E500 Wagon) when we're migrating from Maine together. I am very happy with the location of the cruise control lever in both cars, which will be identical in the new MS P85. It's very easy to turn on and off and especially nice to tap up or down to modulate speed to match traffic. Try it, you'll like it!

I drive a Merc. Previously Lexus. Wife drives a Honda. The Merc cruise is the easiest and most intuitive I have used. I use it even around town. Never had a problem with the position. +1 fredtowers.


You can turn the cruise control off by pushing inward on the stalk. When off, if you accidentally move the CC stalk up or down, it will not effect your speed.

Was the same position and style on our E550... you do get used to it but I agree it isn't the best place and hit it occasionally when attempting to use the turn signal.

Remember when the recommendation for holding the steering wheel was to place your hands at 10:00 and 2:00? Well, that was before air bags. Now that most cars have airbags in the center of the steering wheel the new recommendation is to drive with your hands on the wheel at about 9:00 and 3:00. The new hand position helps keep your hands and arms from getting hurt by the airbag if it deploys. If you drive with your hands at 9:00 and 3:00 then the turn signal stalk in MS (and Mercedes cars) is in an ergonomic place for signaling. IMHO "twiddling" your stalk while driving should be illegal!

@TrueBeliever - I only twiddle the stalk when there is a LOT of room between me and the next car, or maybe there is no next car in sight. I think it's particularly useful in keeping me exactly at the speed limit or four miles above. Clearly I don't use this technique in any kind of traffic situation, just on the open road. I hope it doesn't become illegal, and it would be very hard to enforce.

It just takes some getting used to, but as it was mentioned the recommended hand positions for airbag cars is much lower now.

What is worse it switching back to older cars, I end up hitting the wipers when I want to shift gears.

Sorry fredtowers. I was referencing paragraph 5 in the original post.

Thought it was because I'm an old fart and it's difficult to get used to changes. Although I love everything else about our Sig P85, hate that awkward cruse control stalk. It falls in the same stupid catagory as the pushbutton transmission control on an Edsel. Why ouah buttens when the lever is so easy. All my Toyota Supras have three slide switches on the steering wheel; handy, easy to control, easy to bump speed up or down, and never confuse them with the directional signal stalk. Tesla, like Ford needs to learn that the most expensive and most complicated method is not always the best or easiest.

Great info. Thanks everyone for the great responses. I didn't know about the new recommended positioning .. that was informative. Thanks.

However, I do share the opinion of folks here like Dr. Bob Reinke about the positioning.

In my opinion the cruise control stick transfers some control from the driver to a machine. This should really be a deliberate move on the part of the driver.

Just from the sampling of posts here, it appears that people do accidentally do something with cruise instead of the turn signal - to me this is a big no no .. all it takes is one costly mistake.

I can with 100% certainty say that I have never engaged cruise by mistake on any of my Toyotas, BMW or Honda in the last 20 years ..

Just was looking at Toyota's positioning this morning to think about this some more - to get to cruise, the driver needs to reach out with fingers outstretched - this may be ergonomically not the best position, but it is a very safe position .. In the BMW as well, the same thing happens - cruise is the last lever that is out of reach from normal oft used levers ..

Just my opinion.

You have to compress the stick in order to turn on cruise control. If the little yellow light isn't on, pushing the stick up or down doesn't do anything. Are people really driving around town with the cruise control turned on (yellow light on)?

Personally, it took me about 1 week to get used to the new position. I never mistake the two sticks anymore; for the first week, absolutely.

@dsecrist, you are right if cruise is off, the stick has no effect.

However, cruise stays on even after you are done with a current trip - till you explicitly turn it off .. when well through through, then ideally one would turn on cruise when needed, and turn it off by pressing the button.

The thing that I'm worried about really is an accidental situation.

That said, I'm getting used to this as well - but just though this odd.

I was constantly hitting cruise instead of turn signal. One day I'm on the freeway using cruise and exit down ramp. Of course when I braked to slow at top of ramp the cruise disengaged. When I got near the stoplight at bottom of ramp I reached to signal left turn and hit the cruise...whoa the cruise kicked in again. Now that I have that feeling firmly in mind I consciously look for the turn leaver every time....should be a habit soon.

I come from a BMW and Acura, and I hate the Merc cruise control.
I generally find Merc interiors pretty poor on the ergonomic and intuitive scales, but the cruise control is especially terrible, both for placement and the way it works. Hit it a tad too hard and speed variation is too much.
Many other cars have the turn signal stalk in that position, so it's harder for some to get used to.

It has that whiff of 'we want to be different coz we are MBZ ' arrogance to it.

Sorry for the rant.

@jbue, what you describe is exactly what I went through ..

I hope at some point there is an option to have a shortened cruise control lever, so that it does not get in the way when one tries to activate the turn indicators .. The prominence of the lever is the bigger issue for me atleast ..

Glad to see I'm not alone with this issue ..

Just cultivate the 3-9 driving position and your hand will be in the right place.

Since many years I have cars with cruise control. Since more than 10 years I have cars with cruise control and cruise limiter. On all European roads with the extreme density of traffic you will mostly use the limiter. With always stop and go the cruise control is useless. Here in Germany you have the problem of keeping the speed limit. I think you should not compare cruise control from an Mercedes with cruise control from Tesla S. The Tesla S with the explosive acceleration must have a limiter. Yesterday I tested an Opel Ampera (Chevrolet Volt) and one split second without watching the speedometer - it was only allowed 30mph - I have had more than 90mph on the speedometer - and that was only the Ampera. Is there anyone who knows if the Tesla S could be ordered with the limiter at one touch? The Tesla hotline in Germany was not able to answer this question.

I'm amused that the Chevy Volt not only gets a new brand name overseas, but a new model name too. One wonders if there was any resistance to renaming "Volt" to "Ampera"?!

Hate it. Not intuitive for me.

The tactile feel of the turnsignal/wipers stalk is much heavier than that of the petite cruise stalk.

@Dr. Bob Reinke And you're driving a P85? ;-)

@stangel :) nothing but :)

@parkwaechter - I asked the question in the US if there is "parental control" ( limits based on driver profile and protected by password ) and the answer was no.

The other option was apparently Ohmi Gosh.


During the test drive I mistook the turning indicator stalk for the cruise control twice, so I definitely understand the problem.

Then again, when I switched from a Volvo (with cruise control buttons on the steering wheel) to a BMW with cruise control on a stalk, for the first few weeks I was constantly signalling the driver in front of me with my headlights when I just wanted to set the cruise speed. After a few weeks that never happened any more.

I am hoping the adjustment to the MS goes equally well. Although a mistake with the cruise control on such a powerful car might be costly, the road rage I induced with the inappropriate signalling wasn't without danger either ;-D

I initially found the location to be awkward, but my problem seems to be the opposite of the rest of the posters here. I found myself hitting the turn signal when I wanted to hit the cruise. I got used to it fairly quickly though. I like that it stays on all the time (my previous car was similar in this respect). My wife's car shuts off every time you turn the car off, and for me, I find that annoying, I like having it stay on all the time.

@kleist-too much testosterone yet? I think you haven't drive as much and fast cars I drove in my life - but I hope you will have the chance to do it. Good luck my friend!

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